Scottish cuisine? It’s just battered Mars bars and haggis isn’t it? Apparently not. Situated just off Trafalgar Square, the Albannach bar & restaurant specialises in British/Celtic cuisine and fortunately has a bit more on offer than the aforementioned clichés.
We last visited around a year ago, and to be honest, the place had a bit of a tired look and feel too it. Fortunately, everything from the venue to the food and drink has been given a major overhaul and it clearly seems to have worked. Both the large bar area and restaurant were completely packed on the Wednesday evening of our visit with the lively ‘suits’ of nearby Whitehall; I’m sure the immense selection of Scotch whiskies and some stunning cocktails does the venue no harm either!
The mezzanine restaurant area overlooks the bar, allowing the lively atmosphere from below to continue through to the dining area. Moreover, the focus on whisky continues here also, with their very clever and great value new option of whisky flights to go with your meal. Essentially for around £17, diners can try 5 whiskies across a number of different categories. Almost every table in the restaurant had them, leading us to question why the tables were so small.
So onto the food, and this too has seen a sharp rise in quality since our last visit. Well cooked starters included Scallops with butternut squash puree & bacon, a distinctly un-Scottish but entirely delicious Leek, tomato & goats cheese tart and an obligatory dish of Macsween haggis with neeps & tatties; hearty and full of warmth, it’s no wonder that the Scottish swear by it. For mains, the Surf & turf comprised of a well cooked sirloin (excellent value at £16 on its own), some juicy tiger prawns and an optional drinkably good ‘Albannach’ sauce, made with whisky and mushrooms. On the other hand, my Chicken casserole looked great in its metal casserole bowl, was full of well cooked chicken and veg, but lacked any real flavour that it visually promised. Highlight of the dessert was the Cranachan, with a boozy yet light cream sitting atop a delicious mix of berries and oats.
Food – 3.5/5
Venue – 4/5
Value – 3.5/5
Cuisine type – Scottish/British
Dinner for two (excluding drinks) – around £65
Cocktails – £8
Wine – £5
66 Trafalgar Square
Tel: 0207 930 0066